Most of us have experienced the incredible, mood-altering power of music.
- Posted on Aug 8th 2012 3:00PM by Jason MacNeil
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Regehr has received three different fines -- each for $100 -- from local bylaw enforcement officers as she uses a microphone and amplifier during her sets at the Civic Plaza. Both Regehr and her manager Mitch Barnes plan to appeal the fines in Supreme Court and will continue to perform.
"I see... my microphone and my amplifier (as) part of my expression. That's my art form," Regehr told the North Shore News. "(Without them), I couldn't be heard. I whisper when I sing. I'm a crooner... I wouldn't be heard above the vehicles on the street."
Barnes says this is a rights issue.
"Our basic argument is simple: No government in Canada, while the Charter of Rights exists, has the ability to interfere with freedom of expression," he said.
Brad McRae, the city's manager of bylaws, has met with both Barnes and Regehr to try and find a resolution, offering the artist the chance to receive a permit for amplified music. But Regehr and Barnes are opposed to the idea. McRae told the publication the complaints have been "numerous" but Regehr replied that the accusation was "B.S."
In a YouTube clip from a July 23 North Vancouver Council Meeting, Barnes and the musician stood before council to state her "conflict with the bylaws."
"That bylaw is limiting her ability to express herself," Barnes said. "These rights of expression are guaranteed under Canadian constitutional documents, specifically the Charter of Rights, Section 2. We contend that the city council has no jurisdiction to infringe upon these rights."
Barnes also stated she Regehr is "such a quiet singer you wouldn't hear her from about 10 feet and with traffic not even five feet."
Barnes said he would "continue to have her perform" even if she received subsequent fines.
Regehr says she's fearful that similar actions by city councils across the country could result in hundreds of buskers and street musicians facing fines and similar obstacles.
This isn't the first time Vancouver officials have cried foul about musicians performing in public. Earlier this year the city outright banned bagpipes and drums from being played on the streets.